Posted: 15 Apr. 2022 7 min. read

Employment and immigration law aspects of the war in Ukraine

Overview

On 4 March 2022, the European Union activated the Temporary Protection Directive (RL 2001/55/EC; "Directive"). Persons, seeking temporary protection may choose in which member state they wish to apply for it. While they generally have the right to travel to other Member States for up to 90 days within a 180-day-period, they can only claim temporary protection rights in the Member State that originally granted them the protection status.

Based on this Directive, Austria implemented the “Regulation of the Federal Government on a Temporary Right of Residence for Displaced Persons from Ukraine” (Verordnung der Bundesregierung über ein vorübergehendes Aufenthaltsrecht für aus der Ukraine Vertriebene; “VertriebenenVO”) which is in force as of 12 March 2022.

In the following article, we will inform you about the most important aspects of employment and immigration law that you should know in connection with the “VertriebenenVO”.

 

Who can apply for temporary protection?

Temporary protection applies to the following groups of individuals:

  • Ukrainian citizens and their family members have been residing in Ukraine since before 24 February 2022. Family members include spouses or registered partners, unmarried children under 18 and other relatives who lived in the same household and are dependent on Ukrainian citizens.
  • Third country citizens and stateless persons and their family members with international or equivalent national protection in Ukraine, who had a valid residence permit in Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
  • Citizens of other third countries who were permanent residents in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 in accordance with Ukrainian regulations and who cannot safely and permanently return to their country.

 

How does the registration process work?

Individuals who wish to apply for temporary protection should register with their identification documents (if available) at local police stations, special reception, or registration centers. The applicants will need to complete the registration form and will also provide their fingerprints during the registration process. If available, the following documents should be presented at the registration: Passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, other identification documents (eg identity card, driving license, residence permit).

The Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum (Bundesamt für Fremdenwesen und Asyl) will process the application. Additional information may be requested if no passport or any other identification document can be provided. In general, a temporary residence card (so called “Ausweis für Vertriebene” or “Blaue Aufenthaltskarte”) will be issued within several days and will be sent to the applicant’s registration address or to the delivery address specified during registration.

 

Which rights will be granted through temporary protection status in Austria?

With the temporary protection all persons granted this status receive, among other things, a right of residence, access to the labour market (after a work permit has been granted), entitlement to health insurance and thus access to medical assistance, remedies and medical aids as well as basic care (eg suitable accommodation, adequate food).

 

How does the access to the labour market work?

The employer must apply for an employment permit (Beschäftigungsbewilligung) at the Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice). For the application, the employer needs the completed application for the granting of an employment permit for displaced persons as well as a copy of the “blaue Aufenthaltskarte”.

If the holder of the protection status wishes to take up employment, he*she must register with the AMS as a job seeker. The AMS collects all relevant data such as education, work experience and skills as well as other information. If the holder of the protection status already has a job in prospect, the corresponding employer can submit the application.

The employment permit will be issued within one to two weeks in a simplified procedure without a labour market test or replacement procedure. It is usually issued for a maximum of one year. However, it can be assumed that it will be issued in accordance with the validity of the “blaue Aufenthaltskarte” (currently until 3 March 2023). The work permit will be limited to one employer. Therefore, if the holder of the protected status wishes to change employment, a new work permit must be applied for.

 

What is the validity of the temporary protection that will be granted?

Temporary protection is granted for an initial period of one year, ie until 3 March 2023. If this is not terminated earlier (eg due to changed circumstances in the Ukraine War), it is automatically extended for six months at a time, but for a maximum of one year.

 

Conclusion

Temporary protection grants its holder, among other things, the right to reside, work, access to adequate housing and means of subsistence. The protection is granted for one year with the possibility to extend it for another year. Depending on the situation in Ukraine, this period can be extended.

Subscribe to receive information and newsletters

Get in touch

Mag. Christina Feistritzer

Mag. Christina Feistritzer

Rechtsanwaltsanwaerterin | Associate

Christina Feistritzer ist Rechtsanwaltsanwärterin bei Jank Weiler Operenyi RA | Deloitte Legal, der österreichischen Rechtsanwaltskanzlei im globalen Deloitte Legal Netzwerk. Ihre Tätigkeitsschwerpunkte liegen vor allem im Arbeits- und Sozialrecht sowie Fremdenrecht.

Dr. Stefan Zischka

Dr. Stefan Zischka

Jank Weiler Operenyi RA | Deloitte Legal

Stefan Zischka ist Partner und leitet den Fachbereich Arbeitsrecht bei Jank Weiler Operenyi Rechtsanwälte (JWO), dem österreichischen Mitglied des globalen Anwaltsnetzwerkes Deloitte Legal. Seine Tätigkeitsschwerpunkte umfassen die Bereiche Arbeits- und Sozialrecht sowie Zivilprozessrecht (Litigation). Im Jahr 2017 schloss er sich JWO als Partner an. Vor JWO war Stefan Zischka als Rechtsanwalt in einer der größten Rechtsanwaltkanzleien Österreichs (CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte) und als Legal Counsel in der Erste Bank tätig.